Closed and open minds

Provocative work by fully credentialed specialists in New Testament studies is now quietly being conducted ‘behind the scenes’—that is, out of the general view of the public. An increasing portion of this work is supportive of Jesus mythicism, and a partial list of names quickly comes to mind: Thomas Brodie (recently), Hermann Detering, Matthias Klinghardt, Dennis MacDonald, Robert Price, Markus Vinzent… The historicity of Jesus is now seriously being undermined by these and other fully-accredited scholars. However, one wouldn’t suspect this by reading popularizing literature emanating from the pens of noted scholars such as Bart Ehrman. For that academic, the case is not merely closed—it was never open. Ehrman now has come out with yet another potboiler directed at the … Continue reading

The Acts of Mark: Translation

Note: The only known Greek text of the Acts of Mark is in the library of the Stavronikita monastery in Thrace, northern Greece. The Greek text was published by François Halkin in the journal Analecta Bollandiana 87 [1969]: 346–371. In 1969, Halkin wrote in a footnote: “Once again I am obliged to Mr. M. Richard for a photocopy of this inaccessible text.” This is “a fairly literal translation, and so it may sound a bit rough,” in the words of the translator. Occasionally, the Greek is provided in brackets in cases where the translator was uncertain of the best English rendering. Some Greek words have also been provided for those who may not have access to the original text. Capitalizations (e.g. … Continue reading

John was Jesus (Ory) Pt. 1

Hypothesis regarding John the Baptist by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 10 (1956) Translated by R. Salm (Note: Editorial additions are in brackets and/or are signed “RS”) Part One The birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus The Gospel according to Luke is the only one to give an account of the birth of John the Baptist. Though it precedes the account of Jesus’ birth, this introduction to the gospel1 is not primitive. It certainly betrays the effort which was attempted—and which met with success—to make of John a Jewish prophet. In the time of Herod the Great, we are told, the angel Gabriel appeared to the priest Zachariah. He and his wife are very old. … Continue reading

The Acts of Mark: What is the date of this text?

Specialists often assign a date to a text: “This is a fifth century text”, “…dates to the latter part of the second century,” and so on. Subsequently, historians look for contemporaneity and construct histories based largely on such datings. But what do such datings mean? I would suggest that in a great many cases they have little applicability and, moreover, are often misleading. The problem is that many ancient texts are products of accretion and change over a great length of time. This is especially the case with the Christian writings of late antiquity. So often, the date given to a text reflects the time of its last major edition. This is the case with the Acts of Mark (AM), … Continue reading

The Acts of Mark: Notes

By René Salm What set me on the search for the text of the Acts of Mark, some years ago, was a note by A. De Santos Otero regarding the work in New Testament Apocrypha (1989) II:464–65. The text contained certain elements which I found quite amazing, including that Mark was a disciple of John the Baptist, was a Levite, was baptized by Peter, and went “to the West, to the Gauls.” Each of these immediately set off red flags for me. The fact that they are all in the same work is most remarkable. That the text has been known for a long time yet is supremely obscure and still to be translated heaps curiosity upon curiosity. Before proceeding, … Continue reading

The Acts of Mark: Summary

Deeds and Miracles and Testimony of the Holy and All-praiseworthy Apostle and Evangelist Mark From the codex Athonensi stauronicetae 18, s. xiii., f. 175v–189 [Note: The following headings, as supplied by F. Halkin (in French), accompany the published Greek edition of 1969 in Analecta Bollandiana 87:346-371.–RS] 1. Prologue. 2. Mark’s youth; his knowledge of scripture. 3. His Generosity; his other virtues. 4. He Is baptized by St. Peter; his mother receives Jesus the miracle worker. 5. A disciple of John the Baptist, and then of Jesus; Mark received St. Peter freed from prison. 6. The last supper at the house of Mark. His sermon at Antioch and elsewhere. 7. He evangelizes Cyprus, where St. Paul had converted the proconsul Sergius. … Continue reading